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Inside Politics

Does royal theory give Kerry edge?

Kerry can "almost certainly" be traced back to King James I, Burke's Peerage director says.

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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The U.S. presidential election will be largely fought over Iraq and the economy, but if royal genes have anything to do with the result, Democrat John Kerry is destined to dethrone George W. Bush this November.

According to a theory its British proponents say has proved surprisingly accurate over the past century, the candidate with the bluest blood in his veins will win the White House. In 2000 it was Bush. This time, it's Kerry.

"Our research is not yet complete but my bet is that Kerry has more royal connections and that he is more noble than President Bush," said Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke's Peerage, a guide to the aristocracy.

"But both candidates have a remarkable number of royal connections and both are related to (Britain's) Queen Elizabeth," he added.

Kerry, a Yale-educated war hero from Massachusetts, has all but wrapped up the Democratic nomination and is preparing to take on Republican Bush in what many believe will be the most bitterly fought presidential campaign in history.

The 60-year-old can trace his roots back to the first Massachusetts governor, John Winthrop, to every great family in Boston and to a host of royals in Europe, but has worked hard to dispel the notion he is a Northern liberal elitist.

"Kerry can almost certainly be traced back to King James I and to the bloodlines straight through the Windsor and Hanover families," Brooks-Baker said.

James I, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, ruled from 1603-1625 and is best remembered for commissioning a new translation of the Bible, the Authorized King James's Version. James was king at the time of the 1605 gunpowder plot when Catholic Guy Fawkes and his band tried to blow up king and parliament.

Although Kerry's family tree might have more royal branches than Bush's, the president himself is no commoner.

Bush was more royal than Al Gore, his opponent four years ago, and also boasts a direct descent from Henry III and from Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor, who was also the wife of Louis XI of France. He is also descended from Charles II of England.

Brooks-Baker said there has always been a significant "royalty factor" in those who aspired to the White House, with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan among others all with strong blue blood links.

"The chance of winning certainly seems much higher with more royal connections and one could make a big case that royal genes or chromosomes will tell," Brooks-Baker said.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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